If you know me outside of this blog space, you probably know that St. Patrick’s Day is my favorite holiday. I like to call it my family’s “Christmas in March.” Ever since I was a wee lassie, my parents have thrown an epic party on March 17th. My mom cooks over 200 hundred pounds of corned beef, my dad’s bagpipe band provides entertainment, and friends, family, and strangers (my Dad likes to extend the invitation to anyone he comes in contact with that week) come from far and wide for the celebration! Needless to say, I was just a tad excited to share this holiday with my Yoga Buds.
As we welcomed each other in “circle time” this week, I asked each student to share their favorite holiday. When it was my turn, I said, “President’s Day!” Juuust kidding, but I do feel the need to share that one little girl said, “Father’s Day because it’s like an extra birthday for my Dad and I love him so much.” After I regained composure from melting into an emotional puddle, we began class.
Our warm-up this week was something I like to call the “wake up wiggles.” Starting at the head and working their way down to the toes, I had the kids massage and wiggle certain areas of the body to wake them up. Once the entire body was awake, we did an Irish jig to make sure we didn’t miss any spots. Then, we stretched with “rainbow breaths.” From a standing position, I asked them to bend their knees and place their hands on the outside of one of their feet. On an inhale, they swept their arms in an arch overhead, and as they exhaled, their hands came to land on the outside of the opposite foot. With each arch, they pretended to paint a color of the rainbow across the sky. We then came to seated for a little story time yoga.
This weekend, we read “Lucky Tucker” by Leslie McGuirk. Tucker is a dog who rolls in a leprechaun’s bed of clovers and ends up having the luckiest day of his life. As I read the book, I paused every few pages so we could translate the story into yoga poses. For example, we did downward dog for Tucker, tree pose with one foot doing a jig for the leprechaun, and bow pose for a pot of gold. After building some strength, it was time to put it to the test with a “rainbow relay.”
My early class was a bit smaller and competed as individuals, but my late class was bigger and broke up into teams. I placed foam sticks (every color of the rainbow) at one end of the room for each team and had the kids line up their yoga mats at the other end of the room. The object of the game was to get the foam sticks back to their mats and put them in the correct order of the colors of the rainbow. Each trip to the foam sticks required a different type of movement or obstacle; i.e. crab walks, standing twists on a blanket, or walking on blocks. Finally, we ended class with a simple shamrock craft using green pipe cleaners and rainbow beads.
Each week brings new faces, new challenges, and a renewed sense of why I’m doing this… and I’m feeling pretty darn lucky.
Sláinte and Namasté!